Money: Uncover a New Career Path
Finding a job in today’s job market can be difficult, but as tough as the market is, it’s not impossible to navigate.
Jobs are available, but due to the increased number of layoffs and closures the last couple of years, competition is extremely high. Years ago, human resource professionals might receive 10, maybe 20, applications for a job. Today, they typically receive more than 200.
So how do you navigate the current market, especially if you’ve recently been laid off or are new to the labor force all together? The answer is research, preparation and persistence. Plus, there are some great resources and free services available at your nearest Arkansas Workforce Center to help you along the way.
There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind as you begin your job search. One of the first things you will need to do is update your résumé. Years ago, a general résumé was acceptable for most jobs. Today, in order to get your résumé noticed, you need to target it to the specific company and position for which you are applying. In order to do so, you must research the company and position. Employers are looking for candidates who not only meet the job description requirements, but who know something about the company as well. You also should incorporate key words from the job description into your résumé. Before some employers even look at your résumé, software has already scanned it to determine whether or not it meets the job description criteria.
When it comes to job searches, expand your options beyond the “help wanted” section of your local newspaper. Networking, whether it’s through professional social media sites or volunteering, is key to landing your next job. Who you know can make a huge difference and open doors you wouldn’t be able to open otherwise.
You also should look for unadvertised jobs. Make an appointment to visit with the human resource manager at the company for which you want to work. Get your name in the running for a job before it’s even announced. You never know — that employer may not realize he needs to hire someone until he meets you.
Also, keep in mind technology has dramatically changed the way employers hire. Some employers now search professional online websites to find their next employee instead of posting their job openings. Many also research job applicants online before deciding whether to call that person for an interview. Because your next employer might be looking at you, it’s critical that your digital footprint is professional. You want an employer to be drawn to your qualifications, not overlook you based on inappropriate things you have posted online.
So what qualifications or advantages do individuals ages 35 and older have over the younger generations? Experience. Employers are looking to hire people who have the necessary skills to hit the ground running. They want employees who don’t require much supervision and those who can multitask. To maximize your advantage, you should highlight your professional experience and major accomplishments on your résumé. You also want to stress those during interviews.
Because employers have a large field of candidates, they also are looking at a job seeker’s educational background. If you don’t have the necessary education that some jobs require, you should consider going back to school for a degree or to complete a certificate program. Based on data produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, someone with a bachelor’s degree earns about $400 more a week than a person who only has a high school diploma.
We have seen many people come through our offices who find themselves laid off without the necessary skills to find a good job in today’s market. Many are taking the opportunity to further their education or complete a training program. Training programs are available for high-wage, high-demand jobs, and in some cases, you might qualify for paid training.
If you find yourself laid off from your job and don’t know where to begin, go to your nearest Arkansas Workforce Center. The centers are one-stop locations where you can get free assistance with résumé preparation; obtain interview tips; search for jobs; and get your training needs assessed. We also have career development facilitators who can provide more in-depth employment assistance.
We understand it is tough out there, but we want you to know it’s not impossible to find another job. We are here to help you succeed. Plus, you never know — your layoff may be a blessing in disguise.
Kimberly Friedman is the communications director for the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (DWS). DWS is a major partner at the Arkansas Workforce Centers. To find a center near you, log onto arjoblink.com.